What Is Social Analysis?

Phil Roeder/CC-BY 2.0

Social analysis is the evaluation of issues related to social characteristics, the general quality of life, social services and social justice of a society. The analysis touches on individuals, governments, economies, groups and environments. It studies the past with respect to the present, particularly large-scale developments such as urbanization, ethnic cultures, migration of people and identity formation.

Demographics of a society are studied, including the size and density of a population, age and the composition of gender. Ethnic characteristics, leadership arrangements and social divisions are also investigated. A social analyst takes interest in religious and cultural beliefs and practices of a society.

This study draws a connection between economic activities of a society and how these affect the general quality of life. For instance, earnings determine ability to afford good health care and nutrition, capacity to buy certain goods and services, and leisure activities. An evaluation of social services available to a community, such as health, education, water and sanitation, is useful in planning. Social analysis considers access to social justice to determine the levels of equality, observance of human rights and involvement in decision-making of a society.

Some strategies include beneficiary assessment, needs evaluation, gender surveys, stakeholder analysis and risk analysis.